“I bet I’m the worst student you’ve ever had” she said as she started to put her guitar away. The truth is, Lisa was probably the most talented person to sit opposite me in months. She was a real natural and picked everything up quicker than most. She was a complete beginner and had always wanted to learn guitar but fear had stopped her from acting on it.
We all have a very low opinion of ourselves. We all have this expectation that once we’ve been shown something, we should therefore know it and be able to demonstrate it immediately and perfectly. We quickly run through a song that has a new chord or riff and we expect its now learned and will be played perfectly from now on… Only to discover on the next run through, it’s just as terrible and incorrect.
Where the hell did we get this from? School? Parents? Ourselves?
I personally have never (ever ever ever) gotten something straight away… And I’m supposed to be ‘gifted’ on guitar.
We start learning with this massive expectation that we’ll nail everything and never make a mistake. So, with this belief, it’s inevitable that we are going to FAIL. We are set for a lot if pain and frustration. No wonder so many people procrastinate or worse, quit!
The way we learn is unique for everyone, but we all share in the fact that we all need to ‘program’ new skills. And the way we program is through repetition. Ever heard the phrase ‘Repetition is the mother of skill’?
The difference on a person to person level, is the amount of times new information has to be repeated before it becomes a part of you playing. So a ‘gifted’ person might make the connection after fewer repetitions, however they will still have to repeat the new skill many times, there’s no getting away with it.
When you’re learning something new… Remove yourself from the process, and simply observe yourself doing the exercise or chord or whatever. Gently guide yourself to repeat the process and keep it small and simple.
Then once programmed you can make the process a little larger until a whole song is nailed.
Remember, no-one nails it the first time and has it mastered… a master has simply played it a thousand times.
Happy mastering the guitar, Guitar Freaks.